Britt-Marie Was Here

Britt-Marie Was Here

Book - 2016
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Britt-Marie is a socially awkward, fussy busybody who is used to being organized. When she walks out on her cheating husband and gets a job as caretaker of the dilapidated recreation center in Borg, she is woefully unprepared for the changes. But as she takes on the task of leading the supremely untalented children's soccer team to victory, she just might find a place she belongs.
Publisher: Waterville, Maine : Thorndike Press Large Print, 2016
Edition: Large print edition
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9781410489777
Branch Call Number: Lg Print Fiction Bac
Characteristics: 497 pages (large print) ; 23 cm
large print
Additional Contributors: Koch, Henning 1962-


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Oct 26, 2019

Ever since I read "A Man Called One", I have been struck by the writing of Fredrick Backman and have enjoyed immensely all his stories.

If you read the reviews and comments provided by other Goodread readers, I am almost certain you will find a common thread, Fredrick Backman has a gift, a wonderful talent in being able to develop characters and stories about social ills and ways, we don't want to discuss, admit, or talk about. Yet, he style and compassion add a heart and a perspective to writing about these sensitive subjects, and draws the reader to see them in a different light, in a way which we are not accustomed and to understand them. To take the grim and repulsion off of them, not so much to make them pleasant. No, only to look at them in a different way, to see them from the eyes, feelings, and ways of the one who society has ignored, repulsed, or judged.

The characters are endearing misfits of society. Those we just do not want to get to know, give the time of day, or anything else from our full and busy lives. But these characters you come to care about, care about deeply.

Britt-Marie is another one of those characters. She is socially awkward (which is being gracious). She is compulsive and expects everyone else to be accepting of her because she always does everything properly, accordingly, and perfectly. She is OCD, she cleans everything in site, and accepts very little or gives understanding to anything outside of her personal realm. But when thrust into a situation because of life's circumstances, she finds herself in a world that is so foreign to her, she has to come to terms with it and herself and so the journey begins. It is through this story that once again, Mr. Backman weaves his style, wit, and perspective into a believable and thoroughly delightful tale.

When the story is done, you once again find yourself deeply touched and wondering. Touched by the story, wondering about life.

I have not been disappointed yet by any of his stories and HIGHLY recommend them to everyone, with the guarantee you will not at all be disappointed and in all likelyhood find yourself want to read his other books.

Oct 18, 2019


Sep 23, 2019

For readers who enjoy quirky stories and characters, you will enjoy this book. I personally loved it - a continuation of Backman's "My Grandmother Told Me to Tell You She's Sorry". But you need not have read that book to enjoy this story. I'm sure we have all known a Britt-Marie in our life. Her journey toward independence at 63 is inspirational, moving and funny. Fredrik Backman is one of my favorite authors. I recommend any of his books - he is truly insightful and has a knack for developing interesting characters. Please, give it a read.

Aug 30, 2019

I had a hard time getting into this book. Britt-Marie’s character was a bit annoying. The ending was redemptive.

May 27, 2019

This was *such* a sweet book. Britt-Marie packs herself up, makes sure she has a lot of bicarbonate of soda for cleaning things, and leaves her husband. The job she gets in a tiny little town as a cleaner is perfect for her - she loves cleaning, especially with the bicarb. However, she is less happy when she's cleaning the gym and there's people to deal with. Britt-Marie is suspicious of people. It was lovely to see the redemptive qualities of this story, and watch Britt-Marie let her hair down and learn to love and like and face a world where people aren't all jerks.

May 18, 2019

I absolutely loved this story. The language was difficult for me to hear. However I suppose it was fitting of the place it was representing. I wanted it to go on longer. HOPE he writes a sequel.

Mar 22, 2019

Such unusual stories by this author. I really liked it.

DBRL_DanaS Dec 13, 2018

Pros: Fans of A Man Called Ove or of Backman's other novels are likely to find this book a charming read. The book is a quick read and the story is warm and light.

Cons: Many characters in this one are underdeveloped and one-dimensional, and the town of Borg feels like a caricature of quirky small-town life.

Dec 04, 2018

One of the best books I read this year. Fredrik Backman is a phenomenal story teller. While some characters and references to "My Grandma Asked Me.." carry over, this is a stand alone novel that challenges you to see the best in people.

Oct 16, 2018

I love books with prickly women! Marilla Cuthbert from "Anne of Green Gables", Minerva McGonagall from the "Harry Potter" series, and Olive Kitteridge.

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Apr 13, 2017

“One morning you wake up with more life behind you than in front of you, not being able to understand how it’s happened.”

Apr 13, 2017

“At a certain age almost all the questions a person asks him or herself are really just about one thing: how should you live your life?”

Jun 01, 2016

"Sometimes it's easier to go on living, not even knowing who you are, when at least you know precisely where you are while you go on not knowing."


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SPL_Robyn Nov 02, 2016

Have you ever wondered how much influence the mere presence of a person can have in a town? Or if a solitary, eccentricity-ridden woman of a certain age could ever change her story more than half-way through her life?
These are not questions Britt-Marie has ever asked herself, and she certainly would never describe herself as eccentric in any way – what would people think? She is preoccupied by how others might perceive her, yes. She has total faith in baking soda and Faxin to clean just about anything, and is a compulsive list-maker, yes. And cutlery drawers must be arranged in precisely the correct way, yes.
She also had complete trust in and reliance on her husband Kent for forty years. Now that she is alone, Britt-Marie has one quest: to make sure she does not die forgotten. And although her life story – of her mother, her sister, her husband and step-children – is revealed as slowly as air escaping a leaking tire, it is when Britt-Marie finds herself in a dying town called Borg that she really begins to live. It may seem like a meager life, being a caretaker in an old recreation centre, but the reticent residents of Borg and taciturn Britt-Marie are kindred spirits in an odd way, and where kinship blooms, so does hope. Oh, and football, too.
Backman uses football (soccer) as a metaphor for optimism the way Leafs fans would use hockey. But it is his depiction of Britt-Marie that is most admirable, and his readers are gently pulled from irritation with his unlikely heroine into a warm understanding of this woman who has no real understanding of herself. Britt-Marie lives inside her own head with her own peculiar motivations driving her, but Backman almost surreptitiously reveals how the town begins to open up to her, and how – most astonishing to her – Britt-Marie finds herself reciprocating their support.
For fans of Scandinavian literature akin to Jonas Jonasson’s The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, or for fans of soccer, Fredrik Backman does not disappoint. Both quirky and tender and - Britt-Marie gets her wish – not easily forgotten.


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